As we get ready for all the announcements at VMworld Barcelona from VMware and their partner community, I started to reflect on our past. Brocade is leading discussion around “The New IP,” and VMware has been pushing towards the realization of the SDDC (Software Defined Data Center) for customers. The “New IP” can provide a roadmap to a highly virtualized environment. As we push towards these great new opportunities for customers to take control of the infrastructure around them that runs their business, I started thinking about how long ago this journey began.
Before customers were virtualizing anything in the DC, it was about building high performance and optimizing serial/single stream workloads. The goal was faster processing, switching, routing, and storage. As we migrated to multiple parallel workloads and virtualized application servers, the priorities shifted for customers and those supporting them. Brocade shifted by taking the most widely adopted network for high density virtualization, the SAN (Storage Area Network), and optimized it for VM deployments. By integrating SAN-awareness into vCenter, inventory and alerting capabilities became available, providing not only switch statistics but also those for the attached VMs. Brocade had undertaken multiple steps to “virtualize” routing and isolation techniques within the network. This was the first step in optimizing the physical underlay to improve manageability and performance for highly virtualized devices residing on the network, and was in place in 2009!
Fast forwarding to 2013, Brocade demonstrated the first working instance of VMware NSX running on a hardware underlay with the VDX - an Ethernet switch highly optimized for virtual constructs. The VDX provides Fabric topologies, has zero touch configuration capability, and can be managed as simply as plugging in additional network elements to scale or grow an environment while providing link aggregation and ECMP in the network. The VDX also supports the ability to bind a profile to devices in a network, so if a VM shifts its location, its QoS and security information already resident in the network are applied upon re-activation. This is called AMPP (Automatic Migration of Port Profiles). All of this work was done proactively as we saw the need to automate and simplify the underlying physical construct, providing customers the ability to scale and manage their ever growing virtual data center.
As we have worked through 2014 Brocade has been investing in NFV and SDN which allow customers to virtualize network function and optimize behavior and management of existing physical networks. As the journey towards the SDDC continues, Brocade is poised to not only support but help lead this transition to a wholly virtualized environment. Brocade’s recent announcements around NFV and ODL perfectly complement VMware’s position on SDDC and the path to achieving what the SDDC offers. Brocade will also be making new announcements around our integration of the Ethernet VDX platforms into VMware vRealize Operations 6.0 and the ability to have better insight and visibility into the underlying Ethernet network in your highly virtualized data center. These technologies will allow customers to change cost and operational structures around the data center network by leveraging standardized hardware, network automation and programmability to name just a few benefits.
As I was looking at all of the new upcoming announcements around NSX, vRealize, and the partnership between Brocade and VMware, I thought a quick trip down memory lane to remind everyone of the history behind this journey and Brocade’s commitment and leadership to realizing how the “New IP” can help support the new virtualized data center. Come visit us at VMworld Barcelona and see how we can help optimize the physical so you can realize the virtual.